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Is 14 too late to start coding?

Girl coder

Clearly, someone can learn to code at any age. I would not go as far to say that children who learn to code at primary school age should be taking a GCSE in Computer Science – but it is my view that those choosing their GCSE options when they are 14 who haven’t already been introduced to coding will be far less likely to choose to pursue Computer Science at GCSE.

Coding allows children to be creative and to develop many skills such as problem-solving and applying mathematical concepts. They also learn to collaborate with their peers. All this will help them throughout their time at school and beyond.

However, children who do coding from an early age – in or out of school – may go on to become the technologists of the future.

I truly believe that introducing coding from a young age open up a child’s options. Children have free spirits, learn quickly and have very creative minds; they like exploring and tinkering; most of all they have fun.

I have 7-year olds at coding club who are already creating their first games. I have also seen young coders move on to secondary school and continue to code on their own.

I’d like to see more secondary schools offer creative coding workshops to help children discover there’s a lot more to coding.

 

The Hour of Code 2016

The Hour of Code is a worldwide event where young people and adults take part in ‘learn to code’ activities during December.

I was delighted to be part of this year’s Hour of Code and thanks to the Curzon Cinema in Clevedon, pulled together the event at their wonderful site.

A group of young enthusiastic children arrived on a rainy Saturday afternoon to learn how to program their own Minecraft worlds. We used Code.org – home to some fantastic Minecraft activities which were a real hit with the children. I was very impressed on how the young coders got on with the challenges and were able to share with their peers.

Thank you to everyone that attended and special thanks to the Curzon Cinema for their continued support, which allows us to inspire more children to code.

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#SummerOfCode 2016

So #SummerOfCode 2016 got off to a very good start – a room full of busy and enthusiastic young people ready to create their own Apps.

They had all travelled to the independent Curzon Cinema in Clevedon with their laptops and tablets, expectant of a morning packed with different coding activities.

I was pleased to see how quickly the boys and girls learnt some basic JavaScript coding – then interact with their own apps on their tablets and phones. They also unilaterally chose to ‘work’ right through their ‘Haribo-breaks; maybe I should approach Haribo to sponsor the third #SummerOfCode next year?!

The event would have not been possible without the passionate and dedicated staff at the Curzon Clevedon Cinema who helped me put together the event – and our kind sponsor, Leslie Dark & Co.

 

Creating games with Hopscotch

Years 1 & 2 enjoyed creating their own games with Hopscotch. The app is intended for 8+ year olds but it can also be used with younger children that are confident using ScratchJr. In our case, most of the children had been creating games with ScratchJr and Hopscotch was the perfect follow up.

Hopscotch is a drag and drop code block programming application, which enabled children to create their own interactive games and stories.

The children learnt how to use the iPad’s features like touch and orientation and use these in their creations. They also learned about coordinates, pixels and how to use emoji’s as characters for their projects as well as the logic needed to animate their characters. Check this project out.

Hopscotch it a great app for learning coding, but it can be a bit challenging for some children if they haven’t grasped the basics. If that is the case, then the ScratchJr app might be more suitable.Learning to code with Hopscotch